It might be hard to believe that level of arrogance if we hadn’t seen our president at his New Year’s Eve press conference, putting the bully in bully pulpit by attacking the Republicans with whom he was supposed to be negotiating. Clearly, if Republicans insisted on spending cuts, Obama would just let all our taxes go up and blame them. Vice President Joe Biden had to step in to negotiate some good things for taxpayers in return for Republican support for the New Year’s Day package.
My No. 1 federal tax concern has been the Alternative Minimum Tax, which was originally created to tax the rich but had, with inflation, begun to capture middle-income taxpayers and small businesses. The package indexed the AMT to inflation, preventing millions from getting hit for the first time. Doctors weren’t given a 27 percent reduction in Medicare payments that would make them less likely to accept Medicare patients.
The lower rate cuts for middle-income taxpayers were restored. However, the payroll tax kept its scheduled increase. I wouldn’t mind if it actually went into a lockbox for Social Security, as it should. At least it’s satisfying that those Obama voters who thought he was going to raise taxes only on “the rich,” not on them, will be getting smaller paychecks soon, too.
Meanwhile, back at the national debt. U.S. News and World Editor-in-Chief Mort Zuckerman, who also once voted for Obama but quickly regretted it, noted last Friday on the McLaughlin Report that we need spending cuts to begin to address not only the national debt of $16.3 trillion, but all the unfunded liabilities, the total being $87 trillion.
Obama now says that he is willing to discuss spending cuts if the Republicans will give him higher taxes on “the rich.” What is this movie, “Groundhog Day”? The Republicans, to get the rate cuts on the middle class, had to accept rate hikes on incomes over $400,000-$450,000 and a capital gains rate increase. Now Obama wants more.